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"Shut Up and Sit Down with 'The Sopranos' " was an evening Q&A/dinner theater put together by Lorraine Bracco (Tony Soprano's psychiatrist on the HBO series) to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. Many of the stars of the series attended this hilarious event on June 7, 2017, the 10th anniversary of the last show of the series.
In that context, "shut up and sit down" is a pretty funny line, but it's not so funny when, after running around all summer, it's what (roughly translated) your kids heard when they returned to the classroom this fall.
Curtailing physical activity isn't smart. The best way for kids to learn new info and build cognitive reserve (the ability to optimize or maximize brain performance) is to make sure they get plenty of exercise, along with discovering new information and interacting socially with classmates! Google "Dr. Ken Cooper's Texas Senate Bill 530" to see how it's done.
The facts: Kids who regularly exercise perform better in school and on standardized tests; in a Scottish study, the strongest association was with girls' scores on science tests. And in a study of Italian schoolchildren, pretest activity boosted test scores. Plus, cognitive reserve not only makes it easier for children to learn today, but new research reveals that it can help protect their brains from neurodegenerative damage later in life.
So help your children build cognitive reserve. Make sure they get a minimum of 90 minutes of daily exercise at school, after school and on weekends with both organized activities and unstructured play.
Lower your blood pressure to up your brain power
"Only one thing concerns me," says the doctor to Archie Bunker on an episode of "All in the Family." "Your blood pressure is 170 over 98. That's just a little high. Now, let me ask you, Mr. Bunker, are you the kind of person who gets upset easily?"
"No, no I don't. Ask her," Archie replies, pointing to his wife, Edith.
"Uh, only when he's upset," she says.
"What kind of an answer is that?!" Archie yells at Edith.
"You just answered my question, Mr. Bunker," says the doctor.
Archie's blood pressure was, in fact, not "just a little high" — it was sky-high, indicating that his heart was straining to get blood to his organs. Over time, this can lead to heart attack, stroke, even kidney failure. But there's another risky side effect of high blood pressure that many folks aren't aware of: It can cause cognitive decline.
A new study in JAMA Neurology followed over 1,600 patients ages 70-plus for 10 years. Those with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) higher than 150mm/Hg had much more cognitive decline than those whose number was below 150. Folks cruising along under 120mm/Hg had the least cognitive decline.
So aim to bring your systolic blood pressure down below 120 mm/Hg for body and mind. If it usually hovers just above that, in the 121-139 range, you probably can lower it using regular exercise and a healthy diet. If it's 140 or higher, talk to your doctor about taking medication in addition to making lifestyle changes.
Stop stinky feet in their tracks
According to singer Maxine Brown, who toured with Elvis (and also did the group's laundry), The King became so attached to a pair of socks that she'd accidentally dyed pink, he wore them for a month nonstop. Eventually, the smell got so bad, someone threw them out the tour bus window. Don't Be Cruel!
It happened on a Sunday when stores were closed; even Elvis, Crying in the Chapel, couldn't buy new pink socks. So, the bus turned around, and the socks were Returned to Sender.
We understand why those socks were stinky. But what's the cause when you wear clean socks and the smell is still Stuck on You?
Well, smelly feet — or bromodosis — results from a combination of odor-producing bacteria and a moist environment that helps bacteria proliferate. Those bacteria produce a byproduct that's so odoriferous, it's a real Devil in Disguise.
Fortunately, if you have a problem, you don't have to check into Heartbreak Hotel. To dispel foot odor:
• Wash your feet daily; dry thoroughly, and don't wear the same pair of (Blue Suede) shoes two days in a row.
• Soak your feet in one part vinegar, two parts warm water for 15 minutes.
• Scrub feet with a pumice stone; it removes hard, dead skin that holds moisture.
• Use an antiperspirant/antifungal spray.
• Wear cotton or wool moisture-absorbing socks.
• If home remedies don't work, there are temporary sweat-controlling treatments with Botox or iontophoresis (electrical current).
Then that smell won't be Always on Your Mind.
Why so many sore knees?
"After years of war, my ancestors gave up their barbaric practices and bent the knee to their new kings," says Roose Bolton at one point in the saga, "Game of Thrones." In that tale, defeated factions repeatedly bend their knee as an act of submission to a victor. But all that up-and-downing doesn't seem to cause the characters any joint trouble. The same can't be said for binge-watching fans of the series.
The incidence of knee osteoarthritis has doubled in the past seven decades, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Knee osteoarthritis now affects a third of Americans over age 60 and is responsible for more disability than almost any other musculoskeletal disorder. It's why 3 million women and 1.7 million men are living with a total knee replacement.
What accounts for this? It's not just being overweight or living longer. The researchers say it is from specific factors you can control, meaning knee osteoarthritis might be more avoidable than previously thought.
Potential Triggers: Inactivity — not exercise — leads to thinner knee cartilage and weaker muscles responsible for protecting joints. And the epidemic of chronic low-grade inflammation that affects so many Americans because of diets high in refined foods, processed carbs and excess bad fat further erodes cartilage-building, even if you are not overweight.
The Solution: Your risk of knee osteoarthritis can be slashed if you walk 10,000 steps a day and avoid the
inflammation-causing Five Food Felons (added sugar and syrup, processed grains, most sat fat and all trans fats.)
Why belly fat increases cancer risk and what to do about it
From Mike Biggs (in "Mike & Molly") to Dan Conner (in "Roseanne") and Doug Heffernan (in "King of Queens"), TV is loaded with loveable, belt-bulging, big guys. And while we may find these men make great company for a half an hour, truth is they're risking life and limb by carrying around that front-loaded belly fat.
Fat lodged around your internal organs is called visceral fat, and it's clearly implicated not just in the development of heart disease and diabetes, but also in many cancers. That we've known for years. What we haven't known until now is exactly why deep-dwelling belly fat fuels cancerous malignancies.
Now, a study in the journal Oncogene reveals that a certain protein (fibroblast growth factor-2) released in greatest quantities from visceral body fat causes non-cancerous cells to turn cancerous! And that's why body mass index, or BMI, may not be the best indicator of an amped up risk for cancer. Normal-weight folks with belly fat pump out that protein too.
How to Burn Your Belly Fat
De-stress — The stress hormone cortisol fuels belly fat deposits. So, start with mindful meditation and then:
• Go for 150 minutes weekly of extra activity; get there by targeting 10,000 steps daily.
• Eliminate all trans fats (anything partially hydrogenated), most sat fats and eat five to nine servings of produce and two servings of 100 percent whole grains daily.
• Women, target a 35-inch waist; men, 40 inches or less.
That will trim down your risk for cancer, big time.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.